How to Build a Raised Garden Bed


You can Grow Your Own Way. All spring and summer, we’re playing in the vegetable garden; join us for step-by-step guides, highly recommended tools, backyard tours, juicy-ripe recipes, and then some. Let’s get our hands dirty.

I have big plans for my gardens this summer. I’m in the midst of what you might call a “cut flower obsession,” and I’m planning to grow several types of dahlias, giant asters, and lots of zinnias this year. Not to mention my favorite veggies, including tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapeños, and pumpkins. The problem with this plan, however, is that I’m quickly running out of garden space. So, I did what any gardener would do—I installed some raised beds!

Raised beds are, honestly, the best. They’re easy to access and weed, offer superior drainage, and can be installed just about anywhere. I simply laid down a thick layer of cardboard over the grass in my yard, then put these metal raised beds on top of it. I filled the bottom of each bed with sticks and leaves, then shoveled in dirt and compost. Just like that, I have plenty of room to plant flowers, veggies, and whatever other plants spark my fancy.

If you’re thinking about building your own raised beds, there are so many ways to do it. You can keep it simple with wooden or metal rectangles, or you can get crazy with keyhole gardens or multi-tier designs. Here are some of my favorite raised bed ideas to help get your creativity flowing—you’re sure to find an option that works perfectly in your yard!

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Raised beds are often natural wood colored—but no one ever said they have to be plain! While you’re putting your beds together, go ahead and paint the exterior in cheery colors. It’s sure to brighten up your yard, and it’s a fun activity to get the whole family involved in the gardening process.

You’re going to end up crouching or sitting around the edges of your raised beds when tending plants and pulling weeds, and we love that these beautiful beds have an extra board attached horizontally to the upper lip, creating a convenient seat to perch on.

Raised beds are most often made from wood, but there’s nothing that says you can’t use another material instead. This crafty gardener used wall blocks to build beautiful beds in her yard—this method will probably be more expensive initially, but it’s also extremely durable.

If you have a small outdoor space, you might not be able to install a full-sized raised bed. However, this portable option is the perfect solution—its elevated design offers the same benefits as a traditional raised bed, and it’s even enclosed with wire to prevent critters from munching on your produce.

Sure, raised beds are typically square or rectangular, but there’s no rule that says they have to be. This creative gardener created an octagon-shaped bed with a “keyhole” that lets them access the innermost plants. There’s also a compost cage in the center that feeds nutrients to the bed—so cool!

Turn your raised beds into a pretty yard feature with the help of arching trellises. If you have two garden beds next to each other, all you have to do is put one end of a trellis in each bed to make a beautiful tunnel. Climbing vegetables like peas, beans, and cucumbers will happily grow up and over, and it will make the produce easier to pick, as well.

If bending over to reach a low garden bed hurts your back, you can create taller raised beds like these! They’re a little more complex to build and require more soil to fill, but we think the effort is worth it, as your beds will be more accessible and easy to tend to.

How cute are these wicker raised beds? The woven walls are undeniably charming, and they’d look perfect on a patio alongside a set of wicker furniture. If you’re hoping to recreate this look for yourself, Master Garden Products has a whole line of Willow Raised Beds, including several sizes and shapes.

Boring beds? No, thank you! You can make your raised beds look as pretty as can be with the help of string lights. This gardener simply mounted support poles on the outer edges of her beds, then hung strands of outdoor string lights between them. You could even use solar-powered string lights if you don’t have an outlet nearby.

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Another benefit of raised beds is that they can be built on sloped ground where you otherwise wouldn’t be able to plant. These beds are the perfect example of this, as they’re built alongside a fairly steep staircase, serving as a retaining wall, as well as a spot to plant herbs and veggies.

We love that this raised bed is doing double-duty—it’s a convenient spot to plant vegetables or flowers, but it’s also helping to separate the patio from the rest of the yard. The long, narrow design also makes plants easy to access. Win-win!

If you’re having trouble reaching—or seeing—the innermost section of your raised bed, you can make it easier to access by building a second tier. Case in point: These square metal beds have a second level that allows you to see the vibrant flowers more clearly thanks to their staggered heights.

Do you have a sturdy fence in your yard? You can use it as one side of your raised bed, creating a small garden that stretches along the edge of your yard. (Of course, you’ll want to line the bed with a waterproof liner to prevent damage to your fence.) This is a great solution if you don’t want to sacrifice too much yard space but still want to plant vegetables, flowers, or other greenery.

If you have room to spare, you can use raised beds to create a stunning garden to stroll through during the summer. This beautiful design is 38 feet long, and has pathways that offer access to all the beds. Just think how pretty it will look when it’s teeming with flowers and veggies!

Would you try your hand at a raised bed? Tell us below!

Photo by Angelyn Cabrales

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